Mobitex Technology - Solutions - Case study

Looking at the Dutch taxi market

As the completely dominant player in the Dutch taxi market, RAM Mobile Data is not standing still. In June, the Dutch operator extended a framework agreement with Conexxion Holding NV to continue providing service over its Mobitex network for some 1,200 taxis over the next three years. With nearly 150 taxi operators among its customers, RAM Mobile Data’s GPS and Mobitex solution sets the standard for the industry, and the operator continued to enhance its services to increase efficiency for taxi owners and service for passengers.

“In 2002, just as in 2001, we were able to add more than 1,000 new subscriptions, That included both new customers, such as Taxi Korthout in Amsterdam, as well as new connections for existing customers. Our experience is that increasing investment in mobile data brings even greater returns,” say Huib Leenknegt and Marinus Willemsen, account managers at RAM Mobile Data.

One of the reasons for the steady growth on the number of subscribers is the subsidization of taxi travel for persons with disability in which central organizations impose strict requirements on exact figures for taxi travel with respect to distance traveled and the duration of each ride. In these respects, the Mobitex solution is invaluable, particularly for small taxi operators with five to 15 vehicles. These small operators can compete with larger companies not only in providing the data required for compensation, but also because they can be easily connected to centralized dispatching systems.

Fraud is another important consideration in the selection of a Mobitex solution. Rides off the meter for which the driver pockets the money paid by the passenger cost taxi companies substantial sums. With an onboard computer that records the exact route, the number of kilometers driven and the times during which the meter is running, this type of fraud can be completely eliminated.

The taxi solutions offered by RAM were created together with business partners Taxitronic, Quipment and Next, which supply equipment for the vehicle. Thus far, most RAM customers choose equipment from Taxitronic. In addition, the Dutch Mobitex operator works with software partners to provide two solutions for one-way communication (polling of vehicle locations) and two-way communication for dispatching of vehicles. Dispatching is the more common solution, although some operators choose a polling solution for school buses.

Return on investment from wireless data communications is high in the taxi industry. “The efficiency gained in route planning alone is often worth the investment,” notes Huib Leenknegt. “In the traditional scenario with voice communications, the dispatcher’s job is very hectic. With the introduction of mobile data communications, dispatchers have a better overview and their work becomes much less stressful. The improvement in planning results in a higher degree of utilization of the taxi fleet. Communication with the taxis is also reduced, since each dispatch order is displayed on a screen that is more comprehensible and less prone to errors than voice communications.”

The Dutch Mobitex network currently serves more than 5,500 taxis throughout the country and some 150 taxi operators. The GPS and Mobitex-based solution that RAM Mobile Data offers allows even small operators to make more efficient use of their fleets while improving service for passengers. By leveling the playing field in this manner, RAM Mobile Data has gained a formidable advantage that has allowed to become the completely dominant market player.

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